Anybody who visits Greece during the summer will tell you that the tomatoes taste like no other - truly fragrant, flavorful, they taste as a tomato should. When I'm there, I eat them as a fruit, without even the usual drizzle of olive oil, just with a little bit of salt. My father used to grow them in his garden and would pick them just before lunch. Believe me, nothing beats a freshly-cut, vine-ripened Greek tomato.
But my trip to Greece is over and now I'm back in Cincinnati, where I'm missing my tomatoes! And to be honest, I've always struggled to find a good sauce or paste here in the States to use when I cook. There is something that bothers me in the taste of store-bought tomato-based products. I find them overwhelmingly salty and pseudo-garlicky, completely artificial...if you're a foodie or a chef, you know exactly what I mean! It also irritates me that these huge jars seem to have more water than tomato, so I prefer to prepare my own tomato-based spreads or sauces. But let's face it, time doesn't always allow for that...and the tomatoes just aren't the same as they are in Greece!
So you can imagine my excitement when I came across Elli & Manos' Greek Flavor Bursts. When I first tasted them one winter in Greece, way before Elli and I met and decided to work together, I felt like it was summer again! i fell in love with the natural flavor and the fact that they felt, smelled and tasted like a real tomato. I had the same feeling about the other ingredients - as soon as I opened the jar, I could really smell the olives, the thyme, the red wine. These little powerhouses were superior to everything else I had tasted before, and my family and friends agreed with me as I started to cook more and more with them. The ultimate compliment came from an Italian foodie friend, who told me, "it's real tomato, you can taste it!"
Elli & Manos' Greek Flavor Bursts have become my go-to base for many dishes that I cook during the week. I love their thick consistency that gives me so much flexibility in how I can use them - sometimes straight, as a spread or dip for a healthy snack or lunch, sometimes with a touch of pasta water or olive oil for a rich sauce that has no comparison with American store-bought sauces. And did I say that they are all-natural without a hint of preservatives, artificial flavors or ingredients?!
OK, I've gone on long enough and I hope I've convinced you enough to give them a try for yourself and bring a little bit of that Greek summer into your lives!
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In this blog, we want to share with you stories of people and places and things that reflect zēlos, that Greek energy and enthusiasm that characterizes all we do. We hope you enjoy finding out more about this small, resilient, fascinating country and all it offers and inspires.
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